Smile Politely

The Independent Media Center and the City of Urbana came to a resolution

If you haven’t been following, the IMC had been subject to sudden regulations relating to an incident back in March. Here’s what they said about it on their Facebook page earlier this week:

In response to one event in March where African American folks were found by police to be peacefully drinking alcohol at the IMC (against our rules but not unusual for downtown), the city demanded we apply 45 business days in advance for a permit – costing $100 per event – for EVERY public event at the IMC. (Note that prior to July 1 we paid no permit fee as a non profit – an item they quietly changed in May after our conflict). They have since backed off to demand this for events after 8pm but that covers about 40-50 events per year including poetry readings, movie showings, theater performances. We had to scrape together $300 last week for 3 permits where the IMC will make maybe $150 total.

Due to the number of events held at the center, and a lack of funds to cover such permit fees, the regulations threatened their ability to exist altogether. After an outpouring of support from the community at Monday’s city council meeting, Mayor Diane Marlin and other city leadership met with IMC leaders separately, which thankfully ended with a favorable resolution. From Marlin:

I’m happy to report that leadership from the City of Urbana and the Independent Media Center had a very productive meeting today. The City of Urbana will refund the $300 in event permit fees paid by the IMC, revoke the 12-month probationary period and all fines. Event permits will be required only if the IMC is using public resources(street closures, etc) or the event involves alcohol. The City and the IMC together will draft a Memorandum of Understanding to cover issues related to operation of the event center. Thank you Danielle Chynoweth, Stuart Levy, Karen Medina, Shaya Robinson and Carol Mitten.

Hooray for community activism and the ability of the IMC to continue to be a valuable space for cultural events and a resource for movement building and marginalized community members. 

Photo from Wikipedia Commons

Staff writer

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